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Great North - Halves Album Review

11 Jun 2012 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Meaningful. Heartfelt. Inspiring. Beautiful. Words like these are used too lightly. They are flowery and like flowers are used to fill space.

It is the language of the puff piece. Writing that keeps the band happy and, with any luck, promotes and advertises the music and the band to a new audience. 

That in mind, how could you describe Great North’s Halves?

Meaningful. Heartfelt. Inspiring. Beautiful. 

Know this is no puff piece. These words come from the heart of a jaded writer and once avid musophile touched by Great North’s sweet, sour and sometimes melancholic stories of romance, love and loss. 

There is such emotional complexity in each song that it is impossible to find a word to describe the myriad of feelings each conjures. The realisation hit me at track four, “To Leave Someone.” I had to go back to it, lyric sheet in hand, to try define what the unfamiliar feeling the song brought over me.  

A lot of this heartrending comes from Hayden Donnell’s lyrics, delivered mournfully, Springsteen-esque, often accompanied by the soft tones of, wife and band mate, Rachel Donnell’s backing vocals.

A sermon common among those teaching writing is “Show don’t tell.” Creative writing lecturers around the world would be inspired by the vivid storytelling within each Great North song. The lyrics speak from a heart, not from an outside observer, conveying true feelings and subjective observation of an individual without lengthy exposition describing the situation. 

You don’t need to be told the stories of these songs. Painted across the moody, emotion inspiring music you can feel the story for yourself, as if you’re taking a seat in the protagonist’s mind’s eye and walking in their scraping shoes, three minutes at a time.

Meaningful. Heartfelt. Inspiring. Beautiful.


About Great North

An alternative folk/country band.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Great North


The Golden Age
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Up In Smoke
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Year: 2009
Type: Album

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